Sunday, April 3, 2011

Hwy 50 improvements will close Echo Summit

Caltrans will temporarily close U.S. Highway 50 at Echo Summit for up to two weeks from mid-to-late April until early-to-mid May. The closure is part of the first stage of a safety enhancement project that will remove damaged rock walls and replace them with a barrier that meets current safety standards. The closure dates may be changed, depending on weather conditions in the Sierra.

Motorists should allow one hour extra travel time during the temporary full closure to reach South Lake Tahoe. Two alternate routes will be available:

In Sacramento: Exit at Power Inn Road and take Highway 16 to Highway 49 to Highway 88 to Highway 89 and back to Highway 50.

In Placerville: Exit at Missouri Flat Road and take Highway 49 South to Highway 88 to Highway 89 and back to Highway 50.

Highway 50 over Echo Summit is a beautiful drive in good weather but can be a harrowing experience in heavy rain, snow or fog. The two-lane road is walled on one side by mountain with an old rock wall on the east-bound side acting as a traffic barrier to a dizzying, precipitous cliff that drops as much as hundreds of feet. The rock wall was built in the 1930s and has deteriorated over time from the elements and damage caused by collisions.

Caltrans has launched a website featuring up-to-date information about the project and alternate routes:

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